Los Angeles Let Down: Thunder Blow 22-Point Lead In Loss To Clippers

Thursday, March 3rd 2016, 1:35 am
By: Brett Coppenbarger

In a game the Thunder should’ve won with ease, OKC surrendered a 17-point fourth quarter lead as they lost to the Clippers 103-98 on Wednesday night inside of the Staples Center.

The Thunder led by as many as 22 points and dominated the game for three quarters, but the Clippers ended the game on a 26-to-5 run to win the game in shocking fashion.

Oklahoma City trailed 101-98 and had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but Russell Westbrook opted to take an out of control 3-pointer, which smacked off the backboard and into the arms of the Clippers who sealed the game with free throws from J.J. Redick.

It was a fourth quarter from hell for the Thunder where OKC only scored seven points in the final eight minutes and had more turnovers (6) than field goals (5). There was a complete lack of poise and defensive effort in the final frame, which ultimately led to the devastating loss. It was especially surprising to see after such a strong start to the game for OKC, which featured a plethora of highlight plays.

3/2/16 Related Story: Thunder Social Scene 

Despite treading water in the game’s opening minutes, Durant finally got the Thunder rolling in the first quarter with a stellar defensive play which led to even better offense. Durant buckled down and blocked his former teammate Jeff Green, which ignited an electrifying OKC fast break. As the Thunder were streaking down court, Westbrook zipped a pass to Durant, who side stepped a retreating Paul Pierce and laid down an emphatic dunk to tie the game at 11-11.

OKC’s potent attack resumed less than a minute later with Durant showing off yet again. After grabbing a long rebound, Durant jogged down court and pulled up at the top of the key for one of his signature 3-pointers, and knocked down the bucket while getting fouled by Green. OKC led 18-11 after Durant completed the four-point play with a free throw but the Thunder continued to thrive as they reeled off a 30-to-13 run to close the quarter.

Durant’s spectacular play continued in the second quarter as he added another highlight dunk to his resume. On yet another fast break , Durant elevated over a helpless Redick to put OKC up 19 points, and then converted an and-1 layup on the next Thunder possession to give his team a 22-point lead with just over a minute remaining in the first half.  

The Thunder still appeared to be in control throughout the third quarter and it even looked like Durant and Westbrook would get some much needed rest before Thursday night’s bout with the Warriors, but the Clippers clearly had other plans in mind as they nearly blew off the roof of the Staples Center with their comeback win.

Durant totaled 30 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in the loss, while Westbrook had a double-double of his own with 24 points and 12 assists. Ibaka scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

Chris Paul led the Clippers with 21 points and 13 assists and Jordan added 20 points and 18 rebounds.

Oklahoma City will need to bounce back quickly as they take on the Warriors at 9:30 p.m. on TNT.